For John, BLUF: A suggestion of a war on the young by at least one state legislature. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Government spending stories just get better and better. Here is columnist Walter Russell Mead in a piece titled "Illinois’s Blue Robin Hoods Stealing from the Young to Give to the Old". The quote lifted by Law Professor Glenn Reynolds is:
After pension reform went down in flames last week, Illinois moved to Plan B: war on the young. Governor Pat Quinn’s administration claims that the upcoming budget will include major cutbacks on state services to make room for a $1 billion increase in pension spending. Most notably, education spending will decrease by $400 million, which would make 2013 the third straight year in which education spending has dropped. . . . Sticking it to either group, the young or the old, isn’t appealing, but the boomers are politically organized and better positioned to fight for their interests, particularly because powerful unions are on their side. The young, by contrast, are among the least politically active groups in the country, making them much easier for politicians to ignore. Illinois has obviously chosen the path of least resistance.I am prepared to believe that the population in Illinois is shrinking, at least in terms of children, but still, $400 million is a chunk of change. If we assume a teacher's salary, burdened, is around $100,000, that is some 4,000 people (I am assuming the number of administrators remains constant.) Given 25 children to a classroom, that might be 100,000 less children being educated.
This web site says that from 2010 to 2012 the overall population of Illinois went up almost 40,000, but for a sample of ages (8 through 12) most cohorts dropped about 1,500 in number. Assuming that is a good average, then maybe 21,000 less students. I am not sure it adds up. But, I am sure they know what they are doing.
With the number of older people growing proportionately to those of a working age, and with more working age people dropping out of the work force, we face a problem. At what point will the ratio shift to the point that working folk will no longer be able to sustain those who are not working? And, if we are spending less on educating our youth, will they be able to get the jobs needed to help sustain the rest?